Natasha Lyonne tells off a sexist journo who says pretty women can’t act

Natasha Lyonne

The third season of Orange is the New Black hit Netflix about 10 days ago. Natasha Lyonne plays one of my favorite characters, Nicky Nichols, so it’s nice to see her doing promotion. Most of the show’s recent magazine covers feature Taylor Schilling because Piper is still considered the main character. She’s the trojan horse who watches all the prison drama unfold, so it makes sense that the press wants to hear from her. Laverne Cox also gets press coverage, but the show’s other actresses are interesting too.

Natasha and Samira Wiley spoke to Brazilian journalist Rafael Cortez at a junket. He warmed up by saying some random stuff about muscles to Uzo Aduba. Then it was Natasha and Samira’s turn. Cortez told them how hard it is to be both attractive and a good actress: “Beautiful ladies like you, it’s very hard to do the acting. You start to be angry and fighting with each other on those days.” As Natasha whipped out her side eye, Samira started to answer with an “I think there are some stereotypes that women are very catty on set with each other.” Well Natasha took over:

“I feel like it’s accidentally maybe a little bit misogynistic. ‘You’re so beautiful, what’s it like to have to do all that acting?’ I can’t tell if that’s the question, but if it is, it’s insane. Despite great beauty on the show, everybody is, you know, professional and talented and very capable. So I don’t think that anybody’s thinking about something as meaningless as their beauty when they’re at work or certainly not this show.”

[From YouTube]

Cortez didn’t take any of this seriously. He showed Natasha and Samira a photo of a Brazilian “actress” (“I think she’s a professional“) and asked them to get her hired on the show! He showed them a photo of Suzane von Richthofen, who is a murderess now in prison for killing her parents. He was telling a joke, perhaps, but he came off as a complete misogynist. Both Natasha and Samira had enough at this point. I’m glad Natasha schooled this guy. He probably didn’t learn anything, but this stuff needed to be said.

Here’s the cringeworthy interview clip. Natasha and Samira appear at the 1:20 mark.

Natasha Lyonne

Natasha Lyonne

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN

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27 Responses to “Natasha Lyonne tells off a sexist journo who says pretty women can’t act”

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  1. Who ARE these people? says:

    It happens outside acting, too. All the beautiful ladies start fighting in the office and it is very hard to get work done on those days. And when it’s that time of the month, grrr, even the other ladies start to be angry…

  2. Lucy2 says:

    Natasha’s face through that whole thing is priceless, and good for her calling him out like she did.
    Pretty telling that his only question for Uzo was saying “You’re pretty…shouldn’t there be a man on the show?” Not about portraying a character with mental illness, not about winning an Emmy for her first major role, nothing of substance.

    • *North*Star* says:

      Natasha should get major props for her facial expressions. Hilarious.

      But really, they all handled his ridiculous questions quite well (and clearly all three were shocked at his demeaning questions). He stated he was a newbie on the junket circuit, let’s hope that despite his “baby face” they don’t ask him back.

    • Mia V. says:

      He is on a show that constantly offends people trying to make jokes and he is a huge idiot.

    • Kelly says:

      As he said, this was his first type doing a press junket and hopefully his last. That was awful.

  3. Sugar says:

    What an idiota! He didn’t even understand that Natasha dropped the hammer on him.

  4. Franca says:

    Jesus what an a-hole.
    Beauty isn’t a factor in the show, but the whole thing with Ruby Rose did feel like her beauty played a huge part in her getting cast.

    Nicky is my favourite character too, and Natasha does a great job with her.
    To me, the breakout star of this season was Taryn Manning and I hope she gets acclaim.

    • hunter says:

      Taryn Manning may have a boatload of personal issues but she’s damn good in all her roles.

      I like Natasha too, definite “it factor” energy, she’s fab.

  5. Shambles says:

    Ugh, it makes me cringe to think that people like this still exist.
    *pats on head*
    Oh, you little woman thing, you can chew your food AND look pretty at the same time! Good job!

  6. Soporificat says:

    What a smirky douche-bag. Is his show entirely about sexually harassing and demeaning women? And then laughing about it? So smarmy. So pathetic.

    I think he was worse with Uzo Aduba. She was clearly so uncomfortable and you can see her thinking to herself what an *sshole this guy is, while trying to laugh it off and get through it.

    Natasha Lyonne looked like she was tightly controlling herself from lunging at him and ripping out his throat, lololol forever!!

  7. Jay says:

    This reminds me of that scientist dude who said pretty woman shouldn’t be allowed in the laboratory because they are too distracting.


    It’s interesting how woman are stereotyped to be vain and all about our looks, when it’s men who have such a huge opinion about it.

  8. lisa2 says:

    Its funny reading how upset people are.. mainly because women here have done the exact same thing. Said that a woman got a part because of her looks; or that she is pretty but has no talent.. that she is where she is because of a man.. Kind of in the same vein as what this guy said.

    women can’t get upset until women stop doing the thing they get pissed about when me do it. Yes you can be beautiful and talented.. you can have unconventionally pretty looks and be sexy..

    • Linn says:

      So you are telling me that I can’t be upset about sexist remarks because other women are prejudices assholes?

      I have been pretty adamant that in most cases being pretty/well-connected opened doors for some people of both genders, but that doesn’t help if those people didn’t walk through them.

      And no, it’s not even in the same vein as what this guy said. Saying something about a specific woman who might not be where she is without connections or good looks is something very different from making generalizing statements about all pretty women like Rafael Cortez did.

      If one (white, straight) man does something stupid, people say he did something stupid. If somebody from a minority does something stupid it often falls back to the whole group. And that needs to stop.

      Yes, some pretty women are petty and mean, but so are some ugly woman, and some attractive men and some ugly men etc.

    • lucy2 says:

      I think it’s a completely different thing. This guy made a huge, sweeping generalization about the entire cast of the show, and female actresses as a whole, that if they are attractive, they can’t possible act well and must fight all the time. Completely different than being unimpressed with one person’s talent and thinking looks or nepotism gave them a career.

    • Alice says:


  9. Talie says:

    Some of the questions foreign journalists ask blow me away. You think it’s just a language thing, but they seem to be bold with their own stars as well.

  10. Tara says:

    Maybe his thing is trolling for laughs. It looked like Natasha was casting major are-you-hearing-this side-eye to someone backstage; the show’s publicist?

    • barb says:

      He was totally doing this. Here in Brazil he got some backlash for it and the response he gave was the worst ever, something along the lines of i’m sorry you didnt find me funny.

  11. JustCrimmles says:

    One year is too long to wait for new episodes. I’m weak. I can’t not binge watch.

    Also, Natasha Lyonne forever. Hopefully there’s more Nicky next season.

  12. barb says:

    God I am brazilian and I can not understand, for the life of me, why on hell they would choose that dumbass to interview them!!! And he issued an open letter after getting a lot of backlash for his sexist approach (that wasn’t even remotely “funny”) and not only did he not acknowlodge his behaviour, he also did not apologize and just said something along the lines i’m sorry you didn’t find it funny. I guess that’s the new I’m sorry you were offended, right?

  13. lina says:

    I would go gay for Natasha.
    That is all.

    Oh, & that dude really pissed me off.
    How dare he talk to respected actors like this?